So You Want To Buy A Used Car?
by Pat Goss
PAT GOSS: Sooner or later we all have to buy a car, and here to give us some pointers is Kelsey Mays, Kelsey is an auto buying expert. Kelsey, welcome to Goss’s garage.
MAYS: Thanks for having me on Pat.
GOSS: All right, now we need to buy a car, what’s the first thing we do?
MAYS: Well in the old days it used to be that you’d have to look in the newspaper classifieds, but now you can go online at look at dozens of cars and all the specs and all the prices listed right there on the Internet from the comfort of your home.
GOSS: All right, so you do this search, you find something that interests you.
MAYS: Yeah, once you find the four or five cars you can track down the V.I.N. numbers for all of these and really, sort of get an idea of their history.
GOSS: Okay how would we get that history though?
MAYS: Well you could run vehicle history reports online, that’s not always going to tell you the whole truth about the car, but you know, it’s important to do your homework and at least take that step.
GOSS: All right, well the way I express that is that if it comes up bad it is bad, if it comes up good then still be wary.
MAYS: Absolutely, from there you’re going to be able to call the seller, and you really want to test drive the seller here, you find out what condition the car is in and most importantly you want to find out why they’re selling it. If they don’t have the good sense not to tell you that it’s a piece of junk, they may have not have had the good sense to keep the oil cap on while they’re driving it.
GOSS: All right, so we’ve qualified the car, we’ve qualified the seller, now we need to go look at it, what are some of the things we should be looking for when we actually see the car?
MAYS: We’ll you can show up during the day and you’re going to do your walk-around, your going to make sure that all the panels sort-of-fit and the paint is uniform, you’re going to want to make sure that the tires have even wear, that means that they’ve been rotated properly. You’re also going to want to pop the hood and take a mental snap-shot of what you see, make sure that everything is in place and everything kind of looks kosher there, then you’re going to want to go on your test drive.
GOSS: Okay and on the test drive we’re going to do what?
MAYS: Well you’re going to find out, does the car really fit you? Does it have enough acceleration that you need, are the sight-lines good out the blind spots and the mirrors, and you’re also going to look for general wear on certain things like alignment as you’re braking, that sort of thing. Once you come back you’re going to want to pop the hood again and make sure everything looks exactly like it looked before you went, if there’s stuff that’s been spraying around you’ll notice that real easy.
GOSS: Okay now it passes that test, now comes the real acid test, and that’s taking it to a qualified technician for a bumper to bumper examination, because there’s all kinds of things when a car is in the air that shows up, that doesn’t show up when it’s sitting on the ground
MAYS: Absolutely, one of those inspections will probably cost you about a hundred bucks, it’s worth every single penny, Pat. You’re going to want to make sure that that guy is some guy you trust, not someone that you looked out of the phone book two hours ago.
GOSS: All right, now we’ve passed everything, now we got to do the paperwork, any tips there?
MAYS: Well you’re going to look up book values online as well, and you’re going to find out what other people are paying for a car in similar condition, from there you can go back to the seller and negotiate.
GOSS: Yes, everything is negotiable.
GOSS: Kelsey, thank you.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
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